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University of Connecticut Division of Student Affairs Center for Students with Disabilities

Policies and Procedures

Service Animal Policy and Procedure

Policy

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at the University of Connecticut engages in an interactive and collaborative process with students in order to determine eligibility for reasonable accommodations, including the use of a service animal. By law, a service animal means any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks;
  • Alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds;
  • Providing non-violent protection or rescue work;
  • Pulling a wheelchair;
  • Assisting an individual during a seizure;
  • Alerting individuals to the presence of allergens;
  • Retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone;
  • Providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities;
  • Helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

Individuals with disabilities are permitted to be accompanied by their service animals on all University of Connecticut campuses where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities, or invitees, as relevant, are allowed to go, except in food preparation areas*. An individual with a disability may be asked to remove a service animal from the University if the animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it, or the animal is not housebroken. If the service animal is properly excluded, the individual with a disability has the opportunity to participate in the service, program or activity without having the service animal on the premises.

The University is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal. A service animal shall be under control of its handler. A service animal shall have a harness, leash or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash or other tether would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler’s control (e.g., voice control, signals or other effective means). Federal law does not require the individual to provide documentation that the animal has been certified, trained or licensed as a service animal.

In addition, the University may not ask about the nature or extent of a person’s disability. The University may, however, ask if the animal is required because of a disability, as well as what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. The University may not charge the individual with a disability a surcharge, even if people accompanied by pets are required to pay fees. If the University normally charges individuals for damages caused by a pet, an individual with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by the service animal. While the law requires that priority consideration be given to the specific methods requested by a student, it does not imply that a particular accommodation must be granted if it is deemed not reasonable or other suitable methods are available. This policy does not apply to service animals in training.

*Per Connecticut Department of Health, Public Health Code Regulation 19-13-B42 (q)(1)

Procedure

  • Students requesting to use a service animal should complete a brief Student Information form at the CSD, located in the Wilbur Cross building, Room 204.
  • Students must provide documentation on official letterhead that is signed by a qualified and credentialed practitioner who is not a family member of the student. Documentation must include the following:
    • A statement from an appropriate treating medical professional that the service animal is required due to a disability.
    • A description of the work and tasks the animal has been trained to perform.
  • Once appropriate documentation is received, a professional staff member from the CSD will contact the student to discuss the request. Students will also receive an e-mail notification from the CSD regarding the outcome of the request.
  • The CSD will notify the student’s faculty and the Department of Residential Life (for those students who live on campus) if he/she is approved for this accommodation.

Student Responsibilities

  • It is the student’s personal responsibility to immediately clean up or to solicit the proper assistance for cleaning up if their service animal defecates routinely, or becomes ill and either vomits and/or becomes incontinent.
  • Students living in a University residence hall or apartment should contact the appropriate operations center in order to identify an appropriate location for elimination.
  • Northeast Operations Center – 486–5558 – Busby Suites, Charter Oak Apartments, East Campus, Hilltop Apartments, Mansfield Apartments, North Campus, Northwest Quad, Northwood Apartments and Towers
  • Southwest Operations Center – 486–5556 – Alumni Quad, CT Commons, Hilltop, Garrigus Suites, McMahon, Shippee, Buckley, South Campus and West Campus

CSD Responsibilities

  • Provide verification and information to faculty and staff regarding students who are approved for this accommodation.
  • Resolve any issues that arise regarding this accommodation.

Any questions regarding this policy and procedure should be directed to Jennifer Lucia, Associate Director, at (860) 486-2020 or jennifer.lucia@uconn.edu.